Welcome to the February issue of About This Particular Macintosh! This month, Punxsutawney Phil pokes his head out of the ground, and the world waits to hear if he sees his shadow. This issue, our editors poke their heads into the world of Macintosh computing to keep our readers out of the shadows and shed light on the many recent announcements that impact what we call the “personal computing experience.”
What’s In a Name?
At January’s Macworld Expo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the Mac maker has undergone a name change. In brief, the company’s name was shortened from Apple Computer to Apple. The name change reflects the company’s success in markets outside of the personal computer industry such as digital music players and entertainment content distribution. It was also a nod or recognition toward the company’s yet-to-be-released iPhone.
The iPhone brings with it another naming issue. Cisco Systems claims the rights in the US to the iPhone product name. Apple has virtually undisputed rights to the name outside the United States. Cisco makes claim to the name through acquisition. Apple makes claim to the name through approbation and appropriation. Approbation due to the iPod’s popularity and consumer expectations for Apple to deliver successful “i” prefixed products. It’s approbation because that’s the name Apple wants to use for its cell phone product. Cisco and Apple are now legally jousting over the name, and a court may have to decide if public approbation in this instance is appropriate for appropriation. Perhaps adding Apple’s shortened name as a prefix to its popular product prefix will resolve the issue.
Billion Dollar Baby
For the first fiscal quarter ended in December, Apple delivered to its shareholders a whopping billion dollar quarterly profit, setting a quarterly earnings record and moving the double-zero currency suffix one more digit to the right. Achieving a ten-digit quarterly net profit grabbed headlines but couldn’t pull the company’s share price to higher ground.
Buy On Rumor, Sell On Fact
The fact is Apple earned $1.0 billion dollars in the December quarter on revenue of $7.1 billion. The sale of 22 million iPods, a favorable income tax rate of about 32%, and average gross margins of 31.2% on products sold helped the results. During the quarterly period the company also sold 1.606 million Macintosh computers. Apple ended the quarter with a pick-up of $1.75 billion in cash, raising the height of the company’s cash pile reach $11.9 billion.
Rumors of an Apple iPhone became fact at the January expo, sending Apple’s share price to an all-time high in the days before the earnings release of $97.80 in regular trading. Although the results set company records, Apple management chose to provide guidance for the current fiscal quarter based on shipping products (the iPhone won’t debut until later this year), sending the share price plummeting to its pre-expo trading range of $85 per share. AAPL ended January trading in New York at $85.73 per share. Euphoria that the iPhone rumor is now a future product reality wasn’t enough to keep the share price climbing once the results for the December quarter became fact.
No matter Apple’s quarterly results were decidedly only one dense color (bold and black), the company decided to change the diminutive iPod shuffle away from its previously uniform shade of gray. The shuffle now comes in an assortment of five colors ranging from the original gray to pink. We’ll see if the new Shuffles add a spectrum of success to this quarter’s results.
Accentuate the Positive
Most everyone who surfs the Web or watches TV in the US has seen Apple’s TV commercials personifying the Mac and the PC. Recently, Apple released similar commercials in Britain with different actors accentuating the benefits of the Mac. The actors come complete with British accents of their own and a slight change to the dialogue designed for the British market. Europe was a bright spot for Mac sales in the December quarter.
Apple’s much-anticipated wireless set-top box is now shipping to consumers. Reports indicate the first manufacturing run of 100,000 units has already been sold, and the company could sell 1 million or more Apple TV units this year. Priced at $299, this Mac or PC peripheral may change the way we buy, store, and enjoy entertainment content.
Our February Issue
We’re happy to say our February issue is also a shipping product. Each page of news, views, and reviews is designed with you, our readers in mind. No doubt our managing editor is busy unwrapping his new Apple TV in time to screen his home brew movies for families and friends before the Super Bowl. By next month, I’m sure he’ll figure out a way for you to read our publication in Apple TV widescreen format. But please, screen it from a Mac.
Our February issue includes:
Bloggable: Holy Cow!
Several months ago, Wes Meltzer offered to eat his hat if he was wrong about the non-existence of the iPhone. At Macworld Expo San Francisco, Steve Jobs offered him a fork and knife. It exists, and the sheer “wow” factor made it the only topic of discussion in January. That, and much more, in this month’s Bloggable.
Mac About Town: “A rose by any other name…”
Phones, TV interface devices, a name change…there are changes afoot, friends, and the question is, “When can I get my iPhone?” I mean, what does the future hold for those of us who are Mac users before we are iPod or iPhone or Apple TV users?
Next Actions: A Survey of the GTD App Landscape
Newcomer Ed Eubanks, Jr. covers a mega-smorgasboard of GTD (Getting Things Done) applications.
Photoshop for the Curious: An Overview, Part 3
In the third and final part of this overview exploring the Photoshop interface, we’ll peek into Photoshop’s menu bar. This month also features Lee’s first tutorial—creating better black and white photos.
How To: Demystifying the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
“Contrary to my normal routine of research first, I went down to one of the local big box retailers to browse the UPS selection—after all, how complex could it be, right?”
Desktop Pictures: Little Leaf Sea
Reader David Kettlewell shares photos from the sunny, frosty forests of northern Sweden.
Cortland has junior-high flashbacks after a night of swing dancing with Angie doesn’t go like he planned. Meanwhile, the chameleonesque Agent Smith arrives in town, palming a familiar-looking comm device…
Review: Arctic Quest 1.0
Arctic Quest for Mac is a Tetris-like game that is pretty, but I’d rather just play Tetris.
Review: MoRU 1.3.4
Spotlight is nice but has a habit of displaying a haystack of results taken from a larger haystack. David B. Thompson takes a look at a utility that refines Spotlight searches and reduces the number of returned hits.
Review: NetworkLocation 1.1
NetworkLocation attempts to restore the classic Mac mentality of a location as a place and not just a network connection.
Review: Python XL System
Continuing ATPM’s frequent review of bag products, this month, Frank H. Wu looks at Booq’s Python XL System.